Fitzgerald fire burns future of historic building - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fitzgerald fire burns future of historic building

Fitzgerald- The walls of the old Ford building stood for decades in downtown Fitzgerald.

But it only took seconds for a bulldozer to take out the bricks. The fire in the historic building became hard to fight after the roof fell in on piles of wood.

"When it started, the old wood that was in there just lit up and went real quick," said Police Chief William Smallwood.

Officials do not know yet what started the fire. The building on South Grant Street stood abandoned for years, but the city was getting ready to restore an important part of Fitzgerald.

"Oh, extremely important," Smallwood said. "They're all historic buildings and that's going to be a great loss to the city and all."

"I'm sure we'll overcome it," said Sikes McCord, who owns a downtown business threatened by the fire. "You lose a little of your heritage when a building goes down."

McCord is lucky to still be working out of his building. He runs Pioneer Graphics out of the old Coca-Cola building next door. The fast work of firefighters stopped the blaze before it destroyed his business.

"I thank them for it because they saved a lot of jobs right here."

Three hours into the job, there was still a lot of work left to do.

"They'll probably be out here most of the night, stopping some hot spots from popping up," Smallwood said.

Making sure the city doesn't lose any more of its history than it already has.

posted by brannon.stewart@walb.com